Growing pains are commonplace for budding creative agencies, and they’re not helped by IT that lags behind the requirements of the business. So we teamed up with Kingston Smith, a leading business advisory firm, to find out a little bit more about the challenges facing creative companies in 2017. Here are a few of the key findings from our 2017 IT in Creative Business survey, along with solutions and services we’ve developed to help businesses overcome their IT challenges.
Taking care of your IT
Of the businesses we surveyed, 61.5% said they lacked a dedicated IT department, while a further 15.4% said that just one IT manager carried the load for their company. For those without an IT manager, 25% told us that their Finance Director handles all the tech stuff, and an additional 25% said their IT was overseen by the owner, managing director or studio head.
If your IT is managed by an individual, you could do with someone dedicated to take care of your tech, so you can focus on keeping your company at the cutting edge of creativity and productivity, and suffer minimal downtime. We offer a full portfolio of IT services, from reactive support like Apple repairs right through to complete IT outsourcing, depending on your requirements and circumstances.
Challenges to productivity
We asked businesses what they saw as the biggest challenges to their productivity. The highest ranked answer was ‘Ensuring consistent network connectivity and bandwidth’, or making sure they stay online all the time. ‘Security’ was the second most important consideration for respondents, with ‘Backing up and managing digital assets’ following closely, and ‘Sourcing a reliable IT partner’, ‘Supply and employment of appropriate IT skills’, ‘Disaster recovery/business continuity’ and ‘Working within the IT budget’ all figuring highly too.
Many of the respondents identified that an outsourced IT department was helping them deal with these challenges. If similar considerations are facing your business, we can help. Our services help you survive and thrive in a changing IT landscape, with solutions for storage and backup, networking and infrastructure, managing devices and keeping productive in the cloud.
Backing up files
Backup and archive are essential for business continuity in the event of hardware failure – after all, you can’t save what you haven’t saved. Making sure backups are happening frequently enough to save key assets but fast enough not to impact application availability becomes more of a problem as you work with larger files and more complex projects.
We asked how businesses were currently backing up their files, and it seems more and more companies are now using cloud-based systems, with 50% saying they use cloud-based backups, followed by offsite backup (41.7%), tape drives (33.3%), server backups (29.2%) and ‘other’ (4.2%).
If you’re looking to protect your assets against the unknown, you’ll be interested in our Backup24 solution. Developed for creatives who need secure, offsite protection for their intellectual property and digital media assets, with Backup24, you can leave everything with us – we’ll tell you if anything goes wrong, so you can carry on working without the management headache!
Managing your IT budget
Of course, underpinning your IT choices is always budget. It was interesting to hear from those surveyed exactly what their IT budget went towards, with storage and software taking the lion’s share for most businesses (excluding staff spend). Storage and servers was the biggest contributor to IT budgets with 72.7%, tied at the top spot with software licences (also 72.7%). Hardware was next with 68.2%, WiFi and broadband took 40.9% and tech support just 27.3%.
Refreshing your IT
With technology constantly evolving, it’s important to make sure your IT is up to date and you’re at the front of the productivity pack by refreshing your IT every now and then. Other benefits of regularly refreshing your IT include better software compatibility, and having the most up to date software and hardware with improved features (new devices are generally more energy-efficient too).
We asked businesses how often they aim to refresh their IT, and interestingly most companies aim to refresh every three years (33.3%), while 28.6% aimed for a two year cycle, and 9.5% aimed to refresh annually. However, it was then revealed that most actually refreshed their IT estate four or more years ago (38.1%).
Challenges in the future
We ended the survey by asking respondents to identify which key challenges they thought they would be faced with over the next few years. The main things people pointed to were security, infrastructure and storage, as well as generally keeping up to date with new technology. As one respondent pointed out “The hacker challenge gets greater the more we rely on our systems and the number of hackers with more than malice driving them, is growing exponentially.”
Other points include: “software development and the death of flash in online advertising”; “reliable connectivity to the outside world’; “Sourcing a new database/CRM package that is right for us”; “Expansion overseas, maintaining consistent user experience.”
Of the most important emerging technology trends of the next few years, many of those we surveyed mentioned moving to the cloud. This is clearly a very exciting trend across all industries, one that many creative companies are looking to be involved (more) with. Other big talking points included sharing and realtime collaboration, as well as anywhere file access. As the businesses we surveyed were creative companies, one big concern was the increasing amount of data, particularly for designers.
Want to know more about creative IT and how to keep up with IT trends and challenges? Get in touch with the team to talk through our IT services and solutions for creative businesses. Give us a call on 03332 409 306, email solutions@Jigsaw24.com or pop your details in the form below. For all the latest news and reviews, follow us on Twitter @WeAreJigsaw24 and ‘like’ us on Facebook.